Every organisation must track its finances.  Many micro organisations use spreadsheets, even paper systems.  As organisations grow, devoted accounts software is purchased and becomes the way.  Organisations build systems around their finances, integrating different tools and information sources, generating detailed reports to drive decisions and growth.  It becomes such a key part of a business, changing it for an alternative becomes an incredibly complex project that many organisations shy away from.  But is that decision the right one?

Think about how your organisation has changed since it began.  For some businesses, your requirements may not have changed much if at all.  For others, the changes will be far more dramatic.

Take an engineering firm could start in a garage, using a simple paper system for accounting, move to a basic software package as it grows, and move to more manufacturing specific accounting software as the growth continues.  The needs of the firm have changed as it grows and the change in accounting software accommodates this.

But this is an ideal situation.  Does it reflect all organisations?  Alas not.  Many stay with the same package while building additional processes to make up for missing features.  Does your organisation use Excel spreadsheets (or similar) for this kind of activity?  Tracking the creation of bundled packages?  Calculations of cost prices, or end prices, manually? Manual data entry of customer orders from websites (ecommerce, eBay, Amazon, etc).  If you do, you’re not alone.

This kind of manual activity has many downsides.  It is easy for mistakes to be made, for prices to be out of date, etc. but there is another important factor … time.  When this activity is done manually, you’re paying for staff members to number crunch rather than do more profitable activities for your business.  Think it through with me … if we assume a member of administration staff costs you £10-12 per hour, and you tie up a member of staff for an hour a week completing manual activities, you are spending £520 each year doing a task that software could be doing instead.   Is it more than an hour a week?  Scale up that annual cost to see what that number becomes.  What happens when that member of staff goes on holiday?  Do these activities get left until that staff member returns?  What happens if you get a surge of orders from your online shops … are they delayed while the orders are manually entered onto your system?

The potential problems that can result are numerous, and typically avoidable.  An organisation should never be afraid to check if it’s internal systems are delivering what the organisation needs.  In terms of accounts software (and this applies to CRM software, and many others pieces of software), an organisation should prepare a list of what the ‘ideal’ accounts software would do within the business, and not be afraid to check the market periodically for a product (or products) that can deliver those benefits.  Changing accounting software is a substantial project, but the benefits of doing it well will pay dividends for years to come.  Slicker processes, more responsive customer service, a clearer picture of where the organisation stands financially are all possible.  Which business doesn’t want that?

If you think your business could benefit from such a change, prepare the list and let some suppliers present options to you.  Knowledge of what is possible and how it can benefit you in the future can be quite enlightening.  What do you have to lose.

We don’t sell accounting software, but if you need some help considering your needs both now and for the next few years, please get in touch and we’ll help where we can.